What Has Self-Confidence Done for Me? #26
In the previous chapter, I shared how my self-confidence resembled a thermometer. Accidents, mistakes, unpleasant surprises, health problems, and many other troubling things dropped and raised my confidence. However, my confidence never fell below a level where I could not come back and rebuild it. In retrospect, I have been convinced that “My Lord” did not let Satan bury me in my misseries! Therefore, the Lord also kept whatever confidence I had alive in me (Luke 22:31-32; I Corinthians 10:13; Matthew 28:20; Psalm 27:10). The words of King David are on my mind, and so is the promise of our Lord made:
Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend to heaven, Thou art there! If I make my bed in sheol, Thou art there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Thy hand shall lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Let only darkness cover me, and the light about me be night,” Even the darkness is not dark to Thee, the night is bright as the day; for darkness is as light with Thee.
For Thou didst form my inward parts, Thou didst knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise Thee, for Thou art fearful and wonderful. Wonderful are Thy works! Thou knowest me right well; my frame was not hidden from Thee, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth. Thy eyes beheld my unformed substance; in Thy book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are Thy thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. When I awake, I am still with Thee (Psalm 139:7-18).
It was the feast of dedication in Jerusalem; it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered round him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one” (John 10:22-30).
Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me” (John 14:22-24).
How Do I Maintain Self-Confidence in God?
According to the Apostle Paul, I am a temple of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 6:19). With Christ and God the Spirit living in me, I can stop living in sin (Romans 6:12-14). The Apostle John agreed with Jesus that if we let Jesus live in us, we too will stop sinning, and do what is right to survive in the world as Christ’s servant and Christ’s witness (John 8:34-47; 15:1-27; Matthew 7:21-29).
No one who abides in Him (Jesus) sins; no one who sins has either seen Him or known Him. Little children, let no one deceive you. He who does right is righteous, as He is righteous. He who commits sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God commits sin; for God’s nature abides in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God. By this it may be seen who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: no one who does not do right is of God, nor any one who does not love his brother (I John 3:6-10).
Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not continue in the house forever; the son continues forever. So if the Som makes you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are the descendants of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me, because my word finds no place in you. I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father” (John 8:34-38).
For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from the bramble bush. The good man out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure produces evil; for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
“Why do you call me Lord and do not do what I tell you? Every one who comes to me and hears my words and does the, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep, and laid a foundation upon rock; and when the flood arose, the stream broke against that house, and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But he who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation; against which the stream broke, and immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great” (Luke 6:43-49).
Who is Maintaining MY Confidence?
I did turn my life over to Christ my Lord seventy some years ago, but who has maintained my life all these years? From a physical point and perspective, I had only thirty percent of my body left to work with, but regarding my mental capability, the Lord must have increased it to 130 percent. To keep the Lord and the Holy Spirit comfortable in my life, I constantly have to clean house and keep the things out that defile my body and my temple. And my body ought to house the Holy Spirit and God, Himself, who is Spirit. I have not always been free of temptations, bad thoughts, and using bad words. I have not used surgery on myself; however, my conscience has helped me resist enticements, which would have dishonored my faith, my family, and myself. Nevertheless, I had many small infractions that kept the Lord, God, and the Holy Spirit outside my door. There were times when I was afraid to open the door too far and be sprayed with a hefty dose of holiness. At least, this was my perception at one time how the Holy Spirit and God worked in my life. That perception has taken on a more realistic approach to how the Holy Trinity functions in the world.
I have come to believe that God has stopped waiting for us to become perfect or holy before we can be used to accomplish “His Redemptive Purpose.” The Son of God came into the world to make up for our shortcomings. And He gave us the reason why we must believe and follow Him, to reach “Redemption” ourselves, and help others to attain the same. It is while we are being redeemed that we become the “Instruments of Redemption” for others. We are being redeemed by assisting in the redemption of our fellowmen. Redemption is a life-long process and we do not get crowned until we leave this world (Philippians 2:12).
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual should restore him in the spirit of gentleness. Look to yourself, lest you be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if any one thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his boat will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each man will have to bear his own load (Galatians 6:1-5).
My brethren, if any one among you wanders from the truth and some one brings him back,let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins (James 5:19-20).
This is the message we have heard from Him (Jesus) and proclaim to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say we fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; but if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us (I John 1:5-10).
Then let us no more pass judgment on one another, but rather decide never to put a stumbling-block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. If your brother is being injured by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. Do not let what you eat cause the ruin of one for whom Christ died. So do not let your good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit; he who thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for any one to make others fall by what he eats; it is right not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that makes your brother stumble. The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God; happy is he who has no reason to judge himself for what he approves. But he who has doubts is condemned, if he eats, because he does not act from faith; for whatever does not proceed from faith is sin (Romans 14:13-23).
We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves; let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to edify him. For Christ did not please himself; but, as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached thee fell on me.” For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by (our) steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope (Romans 15:1-4).
Self-Confidence helped me Endure and Persevere
During my ninety years of grace these words of our Lord reviberated often, “In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). And, “By your endurance you will gain your lives” (Luke 21:19). “But he who endures to the end will be saved” (Mark 13:13).
Thus far, I have yet to overcome the world! And at this stage in my life, my “journey of grace” can still be damaged and interrupted. Hence, I too, like the writer to the Hebrew Christians, regard my trials and tribulation as heavenly discipline and training for my day of departure from this world.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation which addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage when you are punished by him. For the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this we have had earthly fathers to discipline us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time at their pleasure, but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it (Hebrews 12:1-11).
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me (Jesus) before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. But all this they will do to you on my account, because they do not know Him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have seen and hate both me and my Father” (John 15:18-24).
“I (Jesus) have said all this to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of their synagogues (churches); indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do this because they have not known the Father, nor me. But I have said these things to you, that when the hour comes you may remember that I told you of them” (John 16:1-4).